This weekend, I read an article by Amelia Tait, about a growing community of people who are buying undeveloped rolls of film on eBay, developing the photos, and therefore, getting the chance to catch a glimpse into the lives of total strangers.

An ominous figure at Niagara Falls from the Forgotten Film community

A member of this community, Levi Bettwieser, a 33-year-old video producer from Idaho, who has spent upwards of $10,000 on rolls of film over the past five years said:

I try and look at every image I rescue as if I’m looking at it in 50 years – everything I rescue is history. People hold on to rolls of film for years and years in the back of a drawer, because we all know that pictures are history, whether it’s just a birthday party or not. Pictures are our only defence against time, our only evidence, sometimes, that we ever even existed.

Here are some more images from the Forgotten Film community:

One man and his dog
Harry’s Cafe
Cheerful child
Reporting for duty
The cool kids

These found images fascinate me. I wonder what happened to the people in those pictures, and the people you can’t see behind the camera.

As a person who always finds herself drawn to boxes of old photographs in charity shops, I can appreciate the pull of this pastime, and the manufactured serendipity of developing film in this way particularly appeals.

Image credits: fromthedice, rorypro, fromthedice, BobTurducken, ChrisNesseth35mm, foundnegatives, canthinkofausernam, cantthinkofausernam, lapuzlazulim

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